A call to arms

A call to arms

There is nothing more disturbing than the continued idiocy that portends as to the self-serving attitude of the modern-day athlete and fans out there who would simply seek to defend the indefensible . Former , seven-time Tour de France winner , Lance Armstrong has become a pariah within his former sport . Not that the sport of cycling can still be taken seriously when its own governing body (International Cycling Union) has been slow to go after the cheaters within cycling and truly punish them with impunity , rather than this continued slap on the wrist and then allowing a number of those cyclists to return to the sport at a later date . Armstrong for is part now is part of an investigation now being conducted by perhaps, the most inept governmental agency within Barack Obama`s administration . The Justice Department , ran rather ineptly by Attorney General , Eric Holder , remains a damn joke .

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Slideshow .

Holder`s office having previously conducted an investigation into the allegations against the now disgraced cyclist closed that investigation, stating , that were was insufficient evidence against Lance Armstrong to proceed with an indictment and then prosecution . Pardon me , but what has really changed in the ensuing two years that as really brought about these turn of events and changed, when the evidence first gathered, proving willful malfeasance by Armstrong and several members of his cycling team was more than conclusive ? Yet the sheer apathy of is supporters was there to be seen . Just going to show, the apple does not fall far from the tree , when you simply witness blind ignorance and damn stupidity by a group of individuals who are simply frigging clueless and would rather not seek out the information that is there for all to see. .

Lance Armstrong now believes that he should not be punished for his misdeeds , while he harangues former close confidantes , chastising in private , while now offering what is clearly nowhere as sincere , a contrite apology . For the idiots who still remain under the impression, that the USADA (US Anti Doping Agency) overstepped their boundaries in seeking out Armstrong. Simply get a clue , and actually verify the standing that particular institution has , as concerning the sport and specifically all of sports, as it relates to the IOC (International Olympic Committee) , and that the USADA acts in conjunction with the US Olympic Committee , as well as having powers as mandated by the government . Lance Armstrong`s estimated personal fortune $100 million is in jeopardy, and is now subject to several legal civil suits . As to his own charitable foundation , Live Strong , well , that organization is now seeing a precipitous fall off in public and corporation donations , albeit that the athlete no longer has any ties to the foundation he started over a decade ago , in order to seek a cure for various forms of cancer . Armstrong , himself, a cancer survivor, having overcome testicular cancer, parlayed much of the goodwill and empathy received to build a philanthropic effort that over a decade has raised in excess of $250 million for cancer research . Commendable as that might be, Lance Armstrong preyed and played on the sympathy of the public major corporations alike , lying about his heroism and his deeds . Simply inexcusable , yet many amongst us, view it as the athlete , as having done nothing wrong.

Courtesy of USA Today

For Lance Armstrong, sorry has been the hardest word

By Brent Schrotenboer , USA Today

A day before his famous confession in January, Lance Armstrong called the home of Frankie and Betsy Andreu.

Both were victims of Armstrong, people he bullied and smeared in pursuit of fame and fortune in professional cycling.

He tried to apologize.

“He told me in that phone call he wanted to meet with us, sooner rather than later,” Betsy Andreu told USA TODAY Sports. “I don’t know how Lance expresses his contrition, but ‘sorry’ is just a word unless it’s acted on. Meeting would’ve done wonders.”

She arranged to meet him in April but said he canceled at the 11th hour, telling her he didn’t trust her.

READ: E-mails between Armstrong and Andreu

Four months after he admitted in a lengthy televised interview with Oprah Winfrey that he had doped, lied and bullied for more than 10 years, Armstrong has, for one reason or another, failed to apologize to almost all of the people he promised he would. In some cases, he has tried to reach some who, after years of being attacked by Armstrong, haven’t returned his messages.

Though he had hoped the truth would set him free, Armstrong also has found it potentially could be expensive. The federal government, two insurance companies and others have filed suit against him, saying Armstrong’s confession proved he defrauded them. The potential liability in those cases is more than $135 million for the former cyclist, whose legal argument is essentially that his confession isn’t relevant to the money he collected from them.

Though he had hoped the truth would set him free, Armstrong also has found it potentially could be expensive. The federal government, two insurance companies and others have filed suit against him, saying Armstrong’s confession proved he defrauded them. The potential liability in those cases is more than $135 million for the former cyclist, whose legal argument is essentially that his confession isn’t relevant to the money he collected from them.

Armstrong said he would spend the rest of his life making amends. His critics say it’s the same old self-serving Armstrong, even in contrition. A person close to Armstrong says that’s not the case, though he acknowledged the legal issues.

“It’s way too soon to assess Lance’s post-Oprah conduct and how this will all turn out,” said the person, who didn’t want to be identified because of the sensitivity of the situation. The person said, “Lance is committed to participating in real dialogues and constructive change” but that his attorneys are not going to put him in “positions where he just becomes a punching bag for other people who have their own agendas.”

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Click on link to read in full.

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While we are at it , how is that a mismanaged entity such as the US Postal Service , in the past three years , has lost in excess of $25 billion and is projected to lose as much as $30 billion ($30,000,000,000) for the fiscal year ending September 2013 , is involved in sponsoring a professional cycling team ? Patriotism asides , it is this sort of asinine idiocy that takes place for what is said to be a stand-alone entity . Yet the Post Office`s debts are in fact guaranteed by the US government , ergo , the US taxpayer . There you go folks , your tax dollars simply not at work for you . When pressed on the fact the current US Postmaster General , Patrick Donahoe , seems to be nonplussed by the fact that, Lance Armstrong , having been sponsored and received in excess of $30 million from Donahoe`s concern , has yet to state why he and the USPS hierarchy have not sought legal recourse for the return of the said funds in question . Personally, I am no longer at a loss to see why it is that the Postal Service is so archaic and simply out of touch with new technology as well as being so inefficient ! Yet, time and time again , I repeatedly ere how efficient US businesses tend to be. I have yet to see it, with a number of so-called corporations , who simply cannot grow organically , but tend to do so by the use of creative accounting and layoffs , only to then have their manufacturing or ancillary staff set up in an office or factory overseas , thereby depriving the US workforce of jobs . Am I, missing something here ?

Well by now, a number of you will know by that rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z has formed a sports` management agency to represent a stable of established sports` stars . Amongst his RocNation Sports Agency signees are, the New York Yankees , Robinson Cano , New York Jets` quarterback , Geno Smith , New York Giants` wide receiver Victor Cruz and Skylar Diggins , recently of the Notre Dame women`s basketball team and drafted by the WNBA`s …. Tulsa Shock . The RocNation agency was formed in conjunction with CAA Sports , one of the worlds biggest sports management and entertainment agencies , with offices worldwide . However , Jay-Z`s latest entrepreneurial endeavor has come under a great deal of scrutiny as well as criticism , because of the way several of the company`s representatives have gone about luring several athletes to sign with the agency .

Now having accumulated an estimate fortune in excess of $450 million , with a budding business empire wherein , Jay-Z, otherwise known as Sean Carter , has multiple business interests, ranging from his upscale night clubs , 40/40 establishments, as well as, a restaurant chain , commercial and residential real estate properties . The rapper is known to be a shrewd businessman , having sold his record label Roc-A-Fella Records , for a reputed $275 million, while still retaining the musical rights to all content performed as an artist while recording for the label . Shrewd indeed , while now having formed RocNation, which now encompasses , fashion and apparel concern , an in-house promotional company , record label , studios , managing and promoting artists signed to the eponymous label. Furthermore, having divested himself of a minority stake in the Brooklyn Nets , and the franchise`s home venue the Barclays Center . It was only a matter of time before the world would begin to speculate were Jay-Z would seek to make his next fortune .

What is now known , concerning Geno Smith`s retaining RocNation as his representation , as an agent , but also for legal matters concerning endorsement deals . It has come to light , that the player , having dropped his original agent , met with representatives from RocNation in something of a clandestine manner , clearly in breaching of NFL rules , because the representatives from the company had yet to be certified by either the league (NFL) and duly recognized by the NFLPA (Players` Union) . To date, no proceedings have been taken against the company by the league hierarchy ,but it does beg the question. Was the company aware that they were in breach of league regulations , in signing the player before having met the criteria of having a certified official sign the player and become his agent ? It is something that has yet to be answered by the rapper or any of his representatives from the company. In light of this however , an impromptu statement was recently made by Smith, stating that he was not lured away from his agent to join RocNation , and that the decision to fire is then agent , was his alone . As to what bearing this might have should either the NFL or Players Union seek to order an investigation , could very well have some ramifications upon how these agents and companies represent themselves in the market place .

The NFL remains a dark and devious world , where one`s word isn’t necessarily a bond of trust or honesty . In 2010 , uber-agent , Drew Rosenhaus negotiated new contracts and deals for a reputed $ 675 million , covering rookies and free agents under his representation . However, in the midst of it all , it should be noted that Rosenhaus , is said to have knowingly poached clients away from rival agents , even when it was known that the players in question remained under contract with their agent at the time . In each of the instances in question, of which there were several , Roger Goodell`s office was said to have found no wrongdoing by Rosenhaus or any of his subordinates from his company , Rosenhaus Sports Representation . Once again, the commissioner , and his office would rather blow smoke up everyone`s rear end , rather than deal with instances, where the image of the NFL is actually being brought into disrepute . How else would you explain the apparent none action by the league even after a number of agents have repeatedly questioned the actions of Dew Rosenhaus and lodged formal complaints not just with the NFL but also the Players` Union ?

I don`t begrudge Jay-Z , or that of his company Roc Nation entering the world of athlete management representation , while seeking to level the playing field . What I do feel in such an instance, is what appears to be the mitigated and premeditated instance , where the conduct of his company has already come into question , either by a genuine mistake or what could very well have been a preplanned effort by a representative of the business , looking to make a big splash in the sports world, as well as in the world of athlete representation. If there is an intent to do something , then at least have the common sense and intelligence to do it right , rather than coming across as a haphazard and incompetent fool ! .

The Atlanta Braves have definitely cooled off from their hot start to the season . Manager Fredi Gonzalez , however, has to be perturbed in recent weeks by team`s sudden inconsistency and the loss of a number games where they were highly favored to win . This has not been lost on Gonzalez`s staff or GM Frank Wren , as they seek to find ways to stop this fait-accompli on the players` part .

One of the bright spots to the Braves` season has been the play of Justin Upton and Evan Gattis , whereby both of these young players have stepped to the plate and they have bot been extremely productive for the team. . Upton`s elder sibling, BJ Upton has been going through his own issues having been acquired by the franchise as a free agent this off-season . The outfielder has yet to find his consistency or power albeit, that as of late he has found ways to be otherwise productive for the Braves .

Coming off a well-earned 2-1 victory over divisional rivals the Washington Nationals , the Braves do seem to be primed to perhaps increase their lead over the Nationals within the NL East , in what now appears to be a two-horse race within the division. The Braves further emphasized their recent dominance of the Nationals by repeating Saturday`s effort with a 6-3 win over Davey Johnson`s players . The Washington Nationals now have problems of their own, in sidelining Bryce Harper , placing the player on the DL , with the outfielder suffering from bursitis of is right knee . And given the issues of the Nationals last season and how they dealt with Stephen Strasburg , let`s just say , are we about to see history simply repeating itself ?

The Braves will host the Pittsburgh Pirates (35-22) , starting Monday , with a three game series at Fulton County Stadium , in Atlanta , Georgia . I am not about to suggest that the Pirates are a resilient team , giving that ball-club`s undoubted affinity for simply imploding during the season and simply falling from grace and out of contention repeatedly within the NL Central over the past few years . And no matter how optimistic manager Clint Hurdle appears to be concerning this team . One simply knows it is only a matter of time before the Pirates simply makes a mockery of their season altogether .

. On the mound for the Braves in the upcoming game will be Kris Medlen , who will be facing off against AJ Burnett , in what is sure to be a great pitching duel. From my own perspective with the retirement of Chipper Jones , as a an avowed fan of this team , I am looking forward to seeing which of the players will now seek to assume the mantle of being a vocal on the field leader of this ball club . Will it be Dan Uggla , B J Upton , Jason Heyward , Craig Kimbrell , Brian McCann or someone else on the roster coming to the fore over the course of this season ?

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Picture gallery .

Your thoughts on the points raised within this piece ? Simply leave a comment as you see fit .

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Picture and slideshow details below .

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(1) A pensive Lance Armstrong, is seen here at a conference discussing cancer research with convened members of the press as well as top medical professionals in the field of oncology and cancer research . Te former seven-time Tour de France winner was stripped of his titles , having admitted his guilt in a doping scandal that has cast a giant shadow over the sport of cycling . The ICU , the international governing body for the sport , have themselves been extremely slow in bringing in far-reaching measures , that punishes cyclists with impunity regarding their doping . Courtesy of slate,com/ ………..

(2) U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder listens to a question at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, March 6, 2013. Holder and his office have come in for a great deal of criticism in recent months in his agency`s handling on a wide variety of issues . having first conducted an original investigation into the allegations of Lance Armstrong having been involved in doping, along with several of his teammates on the US Postal Service Cycling team . The Attorney General`s office , the US Justice Department decided not to proceed ahead , claiming that there was insufficient evidence to lead to an indictment and successful prosecution . A mere two and a half years later , it would appear that the agency will now go ahead in prosecuting Armstrong on the basis of the original evidence gathered by the USADA and WADA . It seems that the ongoing stupidity of the US Justice Department knows no boundaries in their ongoing incompetency . REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst ….

(3) Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2013, before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing about the U.S. Postal Service. Donahoe has been reluctant to explain why it is that the US Post Office has failed to go after Lance Armstrong , and seek the return of $ 30 million paid out to the cyclist in endorsement monies , in a lucrative contract with Armstrong`s team , managed by Johann Bruyneel , a former cyclist , who himself , has come under the spotlight and glare of WADA and the ICU . AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin ….

(4) Rapper , and music mogul Jay-Z ,left , is seen here with New York Jets draftee Geno Smith . The player who came in for a great deal of criticism for his behavior at the NFL Draft , is now the subject of some unwanted publicity , concerning his signing with the rapper`s newly minted sports agency RocNation Sports , a full service management firm , offering sports management and some legal services . Questions have arisen, as to whether or not Smith was signed by NFL certified agent within the agency . Should that not be the case in contravention of NFL and NFLPA rules , then the player and agency itself could become subject of an investigation and a reprimand , if there is clear evidence that those measures were contravened . ……..

(5) Drew Rosenhaus , NFL agent whose company represents over 125 current and former NFL players. Considered to be one of the most powerful agents in the NFL , Rosenhaus has been described by fellow agents and a number of NFL general managers as a pariah , while some have actually referred to him as a “bloodsucking leech “ . Drew Rosenhaus sees himself, as nothing more than a damn good agent , offering his clients the best representation that money can buy . Getty Images / Paula Marks …..

(6) Atlanta Braves’ B.J. Upton rounds third base to applause on a home run during the second inning of a baseball game against the Washington Nationals Sunday, June 2, 2013, in Atlanta. John Amis/AP Photo …

(7) Washington Nationals’ Chad Tracy (18) , Ryan Zimmerman (11) , Rick Eckstein , and manager Davey Johnson , right, watch the final moments of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves, Sunday, June 2, 2013, in Atlanta. Atlanta won 6-3 . AP Photo/John Amis ….

(8) Washington Nationals catcher Jhonatan Solano tags out Atlanta Braves’ Justin Upton (8) at home plate as he tries to score on from third base on a ground ball by Evan Gattis during the sixth inning of the MLB National League baseball game, Sunday, June 2, 2013, in Atlanta. John Amis/AP Photo …

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tophatal ………… 06/03/2013

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We All Get Wasted ……….. It’s The Lifestyle of The Student Athlete

We All Get Wasted ……….. It’s The Lifestyle of The Student Athlete

There’s a very interesting song that was released off the well critiqued and received CD by rapper Gucci Mane called the ‘State vs Radrick Davis’ . One of the songs in question became a noted club anthem called ‘Wasted’ and it essentially chronicled the party life of the club goers and their rather excessive life styles. In saying that I’d associate it also with that of the life of the student athlete who if we’re to believe receive a college scholarship but in large part many of them end up failing to obtain their degrees and fulfilling their obligations to the schools. That being said these schools tend not to lose out because the tens of millions of dollars that comes their way each year by way of endorsements , the rights’ fees ,of course tv revenues courtesy of the NCAA and independently in some cases more than makes up for that loss.

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Within the last couple of days Sports Illustrated printed an article that will be in their November issue, wherein they interviewed an agent by the name of Josh Luchs. In this interview Luchs detailed his involvement with college athletes who were primarily football players entering and about to leave the college stage to enter the NFL . As an inducement Luchs had been paying players to actually sign with him in order for representation at the next level. Some of the noted players in question whom he named were Ryan Leaf , Jonathan Ogden and Tony Banks . Now this may well be only the ‘tip of the iceberg’ in terms of the players that he’d represented or had been involved with at the time and in terms of the monies involved it’s not completely chronicled as to how much was involved . But one can be assured that the amounts had to have been substantial to say the least and that Luchs was adequately compensated in terms of his own fees at the end of the day.

Courtesy of Sports Illustrated in conjunction with Dan Patrick _ article posted by Andrew Perloff

Josh Luchs offers insight into world of agents and NFL players

NFL agent Josh Luchs joined the show to talk about the Sports Illustrated cover story on the underside of the business.

Luchs tried to explain why he paid players. “I loved the players and I wanted to help them,” Luchs said.

Luchs also talked about why he started. “I got sick of not being paid back,” Luchs said. “I got sick of being lied to.”

Luchs said that a lot of agents are doing this, but he said it’s hard to prove. “It’s very hard to keep track of … it’s not just the agents any more,” Luchs said, pointing to all the runners and marketing people.

Dan asked about the part of the story that claimed Mel Kiper had a relationship with his former boss, agent Gary Wichard. Dan asked Luchs if thinks Kiper overrates Wichard clients.

“There are plenty of other agents in this business that believe that he does,” Luchs said.

Luchs said he does believe Kiper may have overrated Jimmy Clausen. But it’s not that simple. “I think Gary can be very persuasive and he was able to persuade Mel,” Luchs said.

Luchs said it’s not easy to fix this problem, and college coaches can’t do anything about it. “I truly don’t believe that they’re capable of preventing that from happening,” Luchs said.

Luchs said states need to make tough laws against this and follow through and enforce them.

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Now one could decry Luchs for being a ‘tattle tale’ as he’s no longer an involved being a big time agent. But here to my mind is where the rubber hits the road if Luchs was involved with players at the time and he was knowingly giving them money and other gratuities then where the hell was the oversight from the collegiate establishments that these very same players were attending ? Furthermore if as it’s my belief much of what Luchs states in his interview has veracity to it then there’s the likelihood that the colleges knew of his interactions with the players an chose to ignore it. At the end of the day if it benefits the program by way of the success achieved on the field and the financial returns are more than equitable then everyone seated at the table wins. And that obviously included the NCAA , the governing body for collegiate athletics across the nation.

Now in raising my next point which is to suggest that if Luchs was one of many agents out there conducting business and he’s now prepared to open up Pandora’s Box on this issue then quite possibly many of his peers at the time involved in the sports’ agent business were also conducting themselves in such a way . The likes of Drew Rosenhaus , Tom Condon , Chuck Greenberg , Scott Boras and Leigh Steinberg no doubt and would probably tell us that they’re above reproach and wouldn’t contend with enabling an athlete to contravene and then violate NCAA rules. Well if that’s the case then clearly there’s now something deeply amiss with the current situation at the collegiate athletics level. Because the very same practices to which Luchs prescribed are the very same themes that have come to the fore in the investigations of several athletics programs in the last few years bring about severe sanctions against those schools but yet no punishment against the agents who may or may not have been involved. Many of the agents in question will have a number intercedents act on their behalf in approaching the athlete indirectly to discuss being represented. The strange thing is , if this is in some cases being done openly on campuses then what are the AD’s (athletics directors , compliance officers and coaches doing about it ? Clearly nothing in the cases of schools such as USC , U Conn and the University of North Carolina to name but a few. And whilst we’re at it where is the NCAA in the midst of this all , other than their rather asinine notion that their investigations and then watered down punishments meted out tends to stop this all ? It hasn’t happened and has never been much of a deterrent to the schools or to the agents themselves. The whole system is corrupt from the NCAA on down and it’s a sad indictment of collegiate athletics as a whole.

NCAA President Mark Emmert who took over from his predecessor Dr Myles Brand a little under six months ago hasn’t really had time stamp his identity on the institution and at the same time one seriously doubts if the NCAA are at all serious in dealing with many of the ongoing issues that collegiate athletics faces. The body itself (NCAA) seems to be intent on spending more time on renewing multi-billion dollar television contracts and seeking out new corporate partners in terms of marketing the NCAA brand than they are prepared to do, than dealing with such instances as the interaction between an agent and athlete , while they are in school or about to enter college having just left high school. And if you think that these agent are merely using the college campuses as their stomping ground then think again ? Many of them are out there at high school games seeking out and looking for the next ‘big thing’ . And to be sure, many of the agents out there would be hard pressed to deny that isn’t the way they tend to conduct their business. I’m sure that agents such as Drew Rosenhaus have interacted with the parents of kids whilst they were in high school as well as the kids themselves and seeking them out surreptitiously merely to discuss their needs.

Now while no one is denying the fact that attending college on a student scholarship isn’t a noble thing, one has to ask this question if the student is there merely to hone their skills and allegedly gain an education. If the scholarship itself is of value then why not as part of the scholarship throw in a stipend for the athlete in order to negate the incidents that have arisen in the cases of athletes such as Reggie Bush and O J Mayo ? It may not deter what we know has happened but if in part a stipend were included in the scholarship with clear guidelines as to what is acceptable as a parameter then surely this would be of assistance to the athlete and actually be a way to avert any temptation there might be to accept money and representation from an agent while in college ? Clearly this is something that hasn’t arisen at any level for discussion or has been seriously looked at .

From my own perspective I view the NCAA as a broken down archaic system that simply doesn’t want to change as they are completely comfortable with their being . Concerns that they may well have, seem to be only their financial well being and in making sure that everyone on board the gravy train is well taken care of except the students themselves whose interests they are actually there to represent. Now if ever there was a clear definition of the word oxymoron then I’d nominate and place the NCAA atop of any list along with US House of Representatives and US Senate . Each of the three bodies in question to my mind on their best day have been about as much use a bucket being used to bail one’s self out of a capsizing boat. I mean what use are these bodies when even they themselves fail to act and do the right thing when the appropriate action needs to be taken ?

As to the athletes themselves they’re asked to be held accountable for their actions but clearly when temptation is placed in their way especially when it’s financial how can they deny any of it at all ? OK so the consequences can be grave but at the same time what of the actions of the individuals who have lured them into making that questionable decision ? No punishment there and until the NCAA and schools are prepared to address that particular then I say ………..’ let the party continue and let ’em all get wasted’ !

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Picture gallery for your perusal.

With Luchs having now given this interview do you feel that anyone of note from the NCAA on down to the schools will show any interest in anything has said ? And what thoughts if any do you have on how the agents themselves are said to conduct their business in terms of interacting with these agents ? Furthermore do you feel that it’s time for commissioners of MLB , NBA , NFL and NHL to step in and act in conjunction with the NCAA to stop the actions of agents where they actually are getting the college athletes to break NCAA rules ? Chime in with a comments as to your own thoughts on the matter and as always thanks for the continued support .

NB:

Click on the link provided to read related articles concerning Josh Luchs’ claims.

Links to Josh Luchs ………..

Alan aka tophatal …………… 🙂

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Gucci Mane _____ “Wasted” feat’g …… Plies

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